Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota
On December 22, a small, but spirited, gilets jaunes (or yellow vests) demonstration took place outside of the Alliance Française of Minneapolis/St Paul, which acts as an honorary consulate where there is otherwise none located in the state. They were closed during their posted open hours, likely out of fear that the neon hot class hatred had spilled over the Atlantic and seeped its way into the great lakes. Sadly, we cannot currently fulfill this terrifying image, nor do we delude ourselves into thinking we can simply velcro on a yellow vest and “voilà” what is felt there can be transposed and materialize here. We believe there is something at stake within the #giletsjaunes in France. The cracks in the mode of governing that is neoliberal capitalism find a response by the fragments, by the partisans vying for strength in its crisis, of which even the police as a party may even be counted. The situation has the potential to be answered in either revolutionary or reactionary terms. And thus, even if our contribution is primarily symbolic we aim to give strength to those who see in this (even the momentary) a dissolution of private property through looting and sharing, to build along lines of what is common despite difference rather than a desperate and false unity of nationalism, to destitute the police who seek to uphold an order which should in all respects be shattered.
The far right recognizes what is at stake as well. They have been attempting to use the gilets jaunes as a trojan horse to center nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment, making it appear pervasive within the movement. Piggy-backing off this movement, rallies in Canada and the US were called for this weekend. This put us on our toes, perhaps making us more discerning, though also less comfortable than at a demonstration where everyone who comes are those who are expected, more immediately legible. When several cars of the three percenter militia movement members showed up, one which was a minivan with don’t tread on me decals, a three percenter logo and a yellow vest taped to their back window made it immediately clear what side of this moment they were on. Despite one stubborn shithead, who kept foaming about Soros and other anti-semitic conspiracy theories, all of them were pushed out, shouted down and left dejected. One even was heard while leaving saying in dismay that “it’s over guys, antifa has taken over.”
Many of us were feeling a bit bored and about to call it a day before this confrontation, but the conflict energized the crowd who then decided to march through the streets chanting “tout le monde déteste la police” (everyone hates the police) and “gilet jaune, fuck Macron”, among others. We marched through the streets of the north loop of Minneapolis, a kind of desert filled with condos and boutiques with a banner at the front that read “loot the rich.” This went on until we were nearly run off the road by an enraged citizen, delayed for just a few moments of their hated commute, who then called the cops after they were punched and their car kicked while dangerously pushing their car through the crowd.
In the complexity of the situation currently taking place in France we do not deny that there are many elements that repulse and terrify us. However, we are much more terrified of a time, which could be not far from now, where we have ceded the terrain rather than contested the situation in all its mess. Revolutionaries looking only for a mirror of themselves stay home, we must fight in the open!